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Retailers advised to start exploring customers' "emotional" needs

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14th Jul 2014
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Could brand loyalty be becoming a thing of the past? It certainly seems so, especially when it comes to the grocery sector.

Supermarkets can no longer rely on customers being faithful, a new report suggests, as it discovered that the average household shopper used more than five retailers across three different channels in the last month alone.

The research, which was launched by Shoppercentric, involved over 1,100 adult shoppers from the UK who were quizzed about their buying habits.

The results show that even the most dedicated consumers are lacking in loyalty, with self-asserted Waitrose shoppers admitting to using an average of more than six alternative stores in the past four weeks. What’s more, 17% of Tesco’s devotees, and 14% of Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s, confess to spending more in other stores than in their favoured one.

As to what is driving this unfaithfulness, the report suggests there are a few factors. First of all is the convenience of proximity, which 54% of respondents cited as a dictator of their shopping behavior. These consumers would rather get their groceries from a nearby retailer than have to travel, in order to save time. This also explains the popularity of online grocery shopping, with 64% citing time-saving as a primary reason for using this channel.

The second most popular decision driver was pride; 51% of shoppers take delight in shopping for their household and want to get the most out of products they buy. The next most significant factor is, perhaps unsurprisingly, price. Over a quarter (29%) of shoppers admitted to flitting between stores depending on offers they are running and vouchers they have sent out. This was closely followed by the pleasure aspect; 23% look for an interesting and inspiring shopping experience, which they get from using a collection of different retailers.

Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric commented: “A change in shopper repertoires presents retailers and brands with huge challenges. This apparent decline in ‘loyalty’ (in the traditional sense) indicates a need to move beyond traditional tactics in order to maintain repeat footfall, and it must include a tangible move beyond price wars, which themselves are encouraging promiscuity. Perhaps it is time that retailers and brands start working together to focus more on shoppers’ emotional needs around passion and pleasure. After all, these are more likely to hold the key to unlocking the long standing shopper loyalty that is becoming more and more elusive.

“Ultimately, retailers can no longer afford to assume that theirs is the store shoppers will visit most often or spend most of their household grocery budget in,” Pinnington continued. “Shoppers have had their eyes opened by the much wider range of stores open to them and varying economic pressures which have impacted budgets and choices. Blind loyalty is a thing of the past for many – going forward, loyalty must be earned.”

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